Story by Sarah Grossman
The United States prides itself on its government.
Last week, the United States government came to a halt when Congress refused to vote a new budget into effect.
According to Sean Severe, an assistant professor in the economics department,
“The government typically runs out of money way before the year ends It borrows just enough to get by.
Congress not authorizing the borrowing of any more money means that there is no money for the government to spend.”
While some find this shutdown frustrating and pointless there were numerous circumstances attributing to the shut down.
“It happened partly to timing. It’s the end of the fiscal year, plus much of the affordable care act is coming into effect. It’s an unusual turn over time,” Kieran Williams, visiting professor in politics, said. “With the looming question of our debt ceiling having to be raised, that adds another layer to the haggling and borrowing.”
“It’s essentially holding government borrowing and government services hostage. It wants to nullify a law (ObamaCare, or the Affordable Care Act) that was passed through years ago. It’s essentially negotiating that,” Severe said.
Nationally, there are many repercussions of the shutdown.
“It’s already going to start affecting people who are most dependent on welfare, women and children. ‘Head Start’ children will be feeling it.
“Tourism will start to feel it quickly. Foreigners will find it harder to get visas, and international business will be impacted,” Williams said.
Over time, it will become an even more serious issue.
“After a couple of weeks, other services will start to be affected. The vital ones don’t. They will continue, and many government employees will continue to work without pay,” Williams said. “National institutes of health will start slowing down, centers for disease control will start slowing. If we have a flu outbreak, there may be a slower response to developing a vaccine.
“My tax refund is stuck. The IRS is affected. If we don’t raise the debt ceiling, Wall Street will go berserk.”
The issue is serious, and it has even started invading the Drake University ‘bubble.’
Students are being affected.
Multiple classes have had disturbances such as tests cancelled and assignments postponed.
Ashley Abed, a sophomore actuarial science major, experienced this first-hand.
“My econ class had a homework assignment. We had to go on the government website for GDP numbers,” Abed said.
“The website is no longer available, and we’re not able to do the assignments.”
Extra-curricular activities that students work hard to create and organize have felt the sting.
Megan Armstrong, a junior management, marketing and entrepreneurial major, is one of many affected.
“I was planning a camping trip, and the camp shut down because the government shut down,” Armstrong said. “We had to put money down before hand, and now I’m out $82 waiting for the government to say I can have my money back.”
“We have a lot of people watching us around the world right now, and we look like a mess,” Armstrong said.
For many, it has been an eye- opener as to the weaknesses of America’s system.
“It goes to the very heart of things. It tells how our process can malfunction. In a lot of ways, it shows where our parties are at the moment, as far as their internal dynamics and how they relate to each other,” Williams said. “It just puts it all out there. This brings issues out into the open for everyone to see, and brings everything to a halt. Not much else is going to get done until this is resolved.”